Posted: Feb 10, 2013 8:58 PM by David Jay - MTN News
BILLINGS - The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act goes into effect in 2014.
"It's a scary boogey man right now," said Steven Bentley, vice president of finance and chief financial officer for Avitus Group. "Businesses don't know whether or not they're going to have an obligation or a mandate. The ones that aren't providing insurance coverage of course are fearing all sorts of adverse financial ramifications from having to provide the coverage."
Bentley says Obamacare, as the law has become to known, will not have a huge effect on businesses that already provide health insurance.
"Some general guidelines are, if you're providing insurance today, you're probably going to be providing it next year as well," Bentley said.
The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, and several other publications, report that about 13,000 pages of regulations came about because of the health care act.
Bentley says businesses will need to decide whether they want to go through this themselves or get some help.
"If you can do your own tax return and your tax return runs 20 pages, you might be able to figure this out on your own," Bentley said. "If you hire somebody to get your tax return done, you probably need to hire somebody to help you get through this as well."
Bentley does not give an opinion on the law itself and says a great portion of the health care act is tax law.
"I've had a personal opinion all of my professional life," he said. "The internal revenue code is not designed to raise revenue, strange as that may seem. When the Congress of the United States wants the country to move in one direction or another, they change the tax law and in effect, we have the same thing here. Change to tax law in order to implement universal coverage."
Bentley says 25% to 30% of Montana businesses may need to address health care issue.
"Of that 25 to 30%, a whole bunch of them are already covered," Bentley said. "And so it's not that they'll suddenly have this additional cost. But they need to address if they have an issue and determine whether they're covered under that issue."
Bentley says it's still too early to know exactly how the law will affect businesses.